by Mara Zebest


Click for this document in PDF Format



Introduction Basics

Merely viewing the Long Form birth certificate in Acrobat reader—

without any special software—is enough to reveal a myriad of

image tampering evidence. What do you look for?

Figure 1 is an example of a scanned image viewed in Photoshop.

Notice that the Layers palette displays one layer which defaults

to the name Background. A one layered file is also referred to as a

flattened image (more on layers later).

Scanned images will have a consistent noise and/or grain. Any

inconsistencies in noise or grain would be a strong telltale sign of

tampering. Obama’s long form certificate document shows a clear

inconsistency of noise in various locations. Let’s examine a scanned

image to get an understanding of what is meant by the term

noise—which is more easily seen at high zoom levels. Figure 1

shows the sample zoom areas of focus—to get a closer look.

Figure 1: Photo Image at 100% Zoom Level


Noise and Antialiasing

So what is noise? At the normal zoom level (100%) shown in

Figure 1, there seems to be the normal transitions of color tones

and shadows. For example, “Sample area one” appears to have a

solid black area of hair near the face. Conversely, “Sample area two”

(also shown in Figure 1) appears to have a solid white or off-white


However, when you zoom in closer as seen in Figure 2 (for area

one) and peek ahead to Figure 3 (for area two), you can easily

view consistent noise which is apparent in the slight variations of

color from neighboring pixels. This is the natural noise level for

this image, and it is consistent throughout the image. If necessary,

zoom in for a closer look at Figure 2, and you can clearly see the

consistent noise in the black tones as well.

Also notice the transition of pixel colors that occur when colors of

contrast bump up next to each other—such as the edge of the face

against the dark hair color. This is referred to as antialiasing which

offers a smooth line of transition and gives the appearance of a

smooth line (to the eye) when viewed at the normal zoom level of

100% (in Figure 1). Without antialiasing, the edges appear jagged

or bitmapped.

Figure 2: Sample area zoom and noise becomes apparent

Noise v No Noise

Before applying this concept to Obama’s PDF certificate file,

I would like to make another point using the same example

image. Figure 3 shows a pixel that is sampled to match one of

the off-white colors within the image: Using a paint brush tool (in

Photoshop), a streak of the sample color was drawn across the

image area.

Notice that a component added digitally to an

image does not contain noise. All neighboring pixels

for the sample paint stroke in Figure 3 is solid in

color with no variation—not even the slightest of


In order to avoid detection when editing

an image, an experienced professional will

attempt to mimic the noise to match the

document. There are many methods, but

the most common method would be to add Noise

to the painted area via the Filter menu provided in

Photoshop (shown in the menu figure to the left).

Figure 3: Solid digital paint stroke added to image

Scanner Chromatic Aberration

The previous sections discussed noise and antialiasing in reference

to a scanned photo, but what about scanned text? Figure 4 shows

a sample section of scanned text. The Figure 4 insert shows the

sample text at normal zoom level—The Anniversary Series—looks

like ordinary black text. The majority of Figure 4 zooms into a

couple of text characters for a closer look at 1400% zoom level.

Clearly a similar consistency in noise and antialiasing can be seen

at the higher zoom level. Additionally, notice a pattern in the

antialiasing transitional colors: The bottom or left edges of the text

(as it transitions into the white background) are red-ish color values

in this example, similarly there are consistently blue-ish color

values around the top and right edges of transitions. This is typical,

quite normal and is referred to as chromatic aberration—caused

when different wavelengths of light are refracted differently as it

goes through a lens or prism during the scanning process.

Applying Foundational Basics

Now let’s examine some sample areas of Obama’s Long Form

Certificate in Acrobat. Again, no need for special image editing

software at this point, just an understanding of what to look for.

Let’s start by mentioning that there is no evidence of chromatic

aberration anywhere in the document—this is not normal and

neither is the white halo surrounding the text—both points

indicates image tampering (more on the halo later).

Figure 5 clearly displays numerous inconsistencies of noise
and aliasing—also indicators of image tampering. A normal
document—scanned and saved as a PDF—would not display these
inconsistencies unless digitally altered and compiled.

It should be noted, that these inconsistencies alone refute the
argument floating around that the layers can be explained by
using OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software. OCR software
would not generate an inconsistency in noise and aliasing. Not to
mention, the ethical implications of using OCR software—which
is to allow for the capability to edit text in a scanned document.
So why would you choose to use OCR software when scanning an
official document that is not intended to be edited or altered?

Figure 6 offers more inconsistency examples as follows:


Mara Zebest grew up in Baltimore MD, where her parents cultivated her
life-long love of art and graphic design. She spent 26 years as a Navy wife,
traveling around the country with their two children; until settling down in
the Sacramento area in 1990.

Mara has served as co-author on the Inside Photoshop series of books as well
as Photoshop Elements 2.

Mara has served as Technical Editor on numerous books on Photoshop,
Illustrator, Xara, and Microsoft Office series.

Mara also teaches private classes on Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, Photoshop
and Microsoft Office to Goverment Employees and Fortune 500 corporations


NOTE: Mara Zebest Nathanson is a brave American hero, who stands up against fraud, and for the truth.  Keep in mind that she voted for Obama in 2008.  She has endured intense internet harassment due to her stance, from anonymous miscreants, to the publishers of her books who consider it negative publicity.  She has had to remove herself from social and business networking sites, and get an unlisted number, due to the unfair attacks.  She has put a lot on the line to simply speak what she knows to be true, and has in no way profited from the situation.  We salute Mara.  We salute her for speaking truth to power.  Mara Zebest is the best!

She appeared with Dr. Jerome Corsi at the National Press Club.